Wisconsin hospital taps Oracle Health to improve revenue cycle

One-year program helps Black River Memorial reduce accounts receivable and increase cash flow.

Jim Lein | March 06, 2024

Chris Plaisance, CIO of Black River Memorial Hospital (BRMH), experienced an epiphany one day when he witnessed a nurse comforting two women in a hallway after they received bad news. “Right then, I realized that technology is not about just inputs and outputs,” Plaisance recalls. “I wanted to devote my life to making sure that technology worked for that nurse—and every healthcare worker—every time they needed it.”

BRMH, a 25-bed critical access hospital in rural Jackson County, Wisconsin, serves about 21,000 residents, whose median income falls well below the national average. Less than 20% of county residents are over the age of 65, and many rely on Medicaid and Medicare. Those patient demographics put pressure on BRMH’s systems and infrastructure—and thus its profit margins. “The old adage is, no margin, no mission,” Plaisance says. “Without margin, I don’t have a hospital anymore.”

With limited control over payer reimbursement, BRMH focused on improving efficiencies and making the most of every dollar it receives. Failure to capture accurate or complete data at any point in the care continuum can negatively impact its profit margins. And every minute that its clinicians and staff spend performing administrative tasks is time they could be caring for patients.

Optimizing revenue cycle operations

The old adage is, no margin, no mission. Without margin, I don’t have a hospital anymore.”

Chris Plaisance CIO, Black River Memorial Hospital

BRMH partnered with Oracle Health (formerly Cerner) in 2022 on a one-year program to upgrade its revenue cycle management solutions, originally implemented in 2015, including patient access, billing, claims, health information management, and other services. The program focused on reducing accounts receivable (AR), increasing cash flow, and optimizing user adoption of the system.

AR days decreased by nearly 19%, while increasing average daily revenue (ADR) by approximately 9%. BRMH had a 26% decrease in AR over 90 days and increased monthly cash collections by 21%.1

The program helped BRMH achieve its goal of having enough cash on hand to operate in the event it’s unable to bring in revenue consistently, Plaisance says.

Continuing a partnership

In the coming months, Oracle plans to begin migrating its existing health organization customers to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Running EHRs on OCI, with its open APIs, can help health organizations integrate a range of scheduling, claims, payment, and other applications. And with EHRs running as a cloud application on OCI, Oracle is able to push packages and updates to customers in a timelier manner.

With respect to BRMH’s relationship with Oracle, Plaisance says that the acquisition of Cerner, completed in June 2022, presents exciting opportunities.

“I’m hoping that Oracle can help accelerate the speed of our innovation and make things such as AI adoptable by small hospitals like us,” he says. “If we can decrease the number of clicks required for a doctor or other clinician to interact with any given system, they will have more time to focus on patient care. That’s highly impactful.”

1 Comparing data pulled from Lights On Network from 3/1/22 - 5/31/22 to 6/1/23 - 8/31/23

Products listed
Oracle Health revenue cycle management solutions